Truss won the party race by 57 to 42. Over 81,000 members voted for her, compared to 60,000 for her opponent and former finance minister Rishi Sunak. “Thank you for the trust you have placed in me. I can lead the best party in the world,” thundered the newly elected leader of the Conservatives.
The way to the top was complicated. She only got into parliament for the third time, she was elected in 2010. Since then, however, her career has risen steeply. Just two years later, she became Minister of Education, since 2019 she has led British diplomacy, and now she has taken over the leadership of the entire cabinet.
The main slogan of her election campaign was the promise to keep taxes low. While her opponent talked about not wanting to promise fairy tales. “Unlike Sunak, Truss is not considered an expert on economics. This increases the nervousness of the financial and economic markets, so there is also talk of a possible crisis of state finances,” noted expert Jiří Přibáň, who teaches at Cardiff University in Britain.
While political elites were campaigning, the people of Great Britain had to contend with the highest inflation since 1982, rising to 10.1 percent in July. The increase in prices is particularly felt in the prices of energy, fuel, food and non-alcoholic beverages. In addition, people are facing a housing crisis, the Sky News website noted.
And that the new prime minister would offer unequivocal solutions is not entirely true. “The vagueness of her program is really worrying,” Přibáň told iROZHLAS.cz.
“Britain – like other European countries – is facing a tough winter with astronomical energy prices and other costs of living, which will lead not only to strikes and protests, but also to increased crime and the risk of social unrest as we have seen here as a result of the economic crisis at the end of the first decade of this century,” he commented.
But Truss offers a “traditional conservative recipe”: low taxes and tax breaks, for example for those who stay at home with young children or elderly relatives.
Change cannot be expected from the new prime minister. According to his previous statements, and also his speech after the election, it is clear that he will maintain the continuity of the previous government and “friend Boris”, i.e. after the scandals of the outgoing Boris Johnson. “Dear Boris, you have handled Brexit. You destroyed Jeremy Corbyn (former head of the opposition Labor Party, editor’s note). You introduced vaccines. And you stood up to Vladimir Putin. You are admired from Kiev to Carlisle,” she directed her thank-you speech to the outgoing chairman.
However, not all party members had the same positive view of Johnson’s scandal-ridden premiership. For example, the challenger Sunak was one of those who unleashed an internal “rebellion” by resigning from the post of Minister of Finance.
The story of Boris’ bitter end. British Prime Minister Johnson stayed in power despite all the scandals
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Partygate and other scandals were not sufficient reason for the ex-prime minister to resign, until the largest outflow of ministers from the government in history forced him to resign. Johnson resigned on July 7, saying, “I want you to know how sorry I am to be giving up the best job in the world.”
The disparate attitude of the conservatives was pointed out by Politico in the Westminster Insider podcast. “The Conservatives can’t even agree on whether or not Boris Johnson should step down, they are now choosing a new direction for their party and who will be their next leader,” it said.
In recent years, the politics of the Conservative Party have been determined by Johnson’s personality. Especially when he took power during the failed and protracted Brexit negotiations.
“Boris Johnson is still very popular in the Conservative Party. According to a survey by a conservative organization called Conservative Home, about a third of party members would like Boris Johnson to figure in the competition. That party as such is very satisfied with him or still has a number of supporters there,” commented Czech Radio analyst Filip Nerad in the Vinohradská 12 podcast. A YouGov survey also came to similar conclusions.
On a personal level, Liz Truss is not an obvious improvement over Boris Johnson (even after their differing levels of fame are taken into account) and she loses to Starmer in terms of competence and likeability
12:02 – 09/03/2022
To the head of the conservatives
Hitting the same note with the popular chairman seems to have won some valuable votes for his female friend Truss. However, she is not a classic representative of conservatives, she characterized her parents as supporters of the “left wing”, in her youth she herself spoke for the Liberal Democrats.
Mary Elizabeth Truss was born in Oxford, where she later studied philosophy, politics and economics at university. It was during her studies that she changed her party orientation and joined the Conservative Party.
She is honored by many nicknames. For example, CBS News recalled the “human hand grenade” because of her fiery nature. Truss reportedly hates it when things don’t go her way. This character trait was confirmed by her brother. He told BBC Radio 4 that his sister really disliked losing during traditional family board games, which she would rather run away from than face losing.
The 47-year-old politician is also called the “new Iron Lady”. She herself does not like to hear this comparison, although there are many possibilities for comparison. For example, the BBC noted in her profile that as a nine-year-old she played Thatcher in a school play.
“Liz Trussová, with her demeanor, diction, forcefulness, but also the way she sometimes dresses and appears in public, styles herself a lot exactly like Margaret Thatcher,” commented Nerad in Vinohradská 12.
Liz Truss actually dresses up like Margaret Thatcher. She has a dressing up box in her dressing up room where she goes to dress up as Maggie. One wonders if she acts out in front of a mirror, trying out her Maggie voice “The lady’s not for trusting!” hoping for a miner’s strike?
00:07 – 16/07/2022
“Her task will be much more difficult,” pointed out Přibáň. According to him, the current situation in which the British Isles finds itself will “require Churchillian spirit and political skills”.
“It will have to deal with the problems of war and peace, poverty and prosperity on a scale we haven’t seen in decades,” he explained. At the same time, it is precisely the leadership of the Conservative Party that is not met with excessive expectations by British citizens. According to a YouGov poll, only 13 percent trust them to handle the current crisis. In contrast, 28 percent of respondents would trust Labor.
The Conservatives have been in power for 12 years, but as the last local elections showed, Labor is gaining strength. They also won some conservative strongholds, such as London. In addition, the current change in the post of prime minister is already the third in six years.
“Labour has strengthened in the long term thanks to the scandals of the Johnson government, but at the moment it is not a question of whether the rudder is turning, because, figuratively speaking, the whole ship is in danger of sinking,” Přibáň noted for iROZHLAS.cz.
The three-month election marathon in which the Conservatives decided on their new leadership reaches the finish line on Tuesday. The outgoing Johnson will hand in his resignation to Queen Elizabeth and name a successor at the same time. Unusually, this will happen at Balmoral Castle. Just a few weeks ago, the Queen promised to move to Buckingham Palace, but her health problems, which impose on mobility, forced her to reconsider the plans. Johnson and the new Prime Minister will make a trip to Scotland to see her.
Truss will become the 15th prime minister to be welcomed into office and only the third female representative in British history.
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